My company usually hires fall interns who work without compensation. Does the law still allow this?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that the term “employ” means that when an individual is “suffered or permitted” to work, that individual must be compensated under the law for services performed. Internships in the for-profit, private sector most often qualify as employees except when all six of the following criteria are met:
- the internship is similar to training that would be given in an educational environment;
- the internship is for the benefit of the intern;
- the intern does not displace regular employees and is closely supervised by existing staff;
- the employer derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and its operations may actually be impeded by the intern;
- the intern is not guaranteed a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
- the employer and the intern both understand the intern is not entitled to wages during the internship.
Internships should be of a fixed duration, established prior to the outset of the internship and not used as a “trial run” for employment.
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